Friday, 29 June 2012

Seminars, Astronomy, Railways and Different Perspectives

It seems as though I find myself having to do this on a relatively frequent basis when beginning my blog entries, but once again apologies for the lateness of this entry. However, readers will be quite excited to know that the last fortnight has been a fascinating experience from both an Asperger perspective with the seminars that I have been giving and a travel perspective with the train journeys and the places that I have been lucky enough to have had some time to visit.

My busy week of talks, seminars and workshops began with the Autism Show 2012 at Excel London, where I gave a seminar on Asperger’s Syndrome and Employment, including looking at some of the operational procedures that I have developed at Autism Works, before having the privilege to listen to Ari Ne’eman speak. Ne’eman (who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome), was appointed by Barack Obama in 2010 to serve on the US National Council on Disability, gave a very inspiring speech on the rights of people on the autistic spectrum to be included within mainstream society as they are, rather than being pigeon-holed or seen as needing to be cured. This relates to what we would like to achieve at Autism Works where we would eventually like to provide opportunities for employees to earn an industry-recognised qualification, the ISEB Foundation Certificate, which can also lead to opportunities beyond Autism Works, rather than feeling as though they are in an ‘autism bubble’.

Statue of John Betjeman, St Pancras International, London
One of my favourite aspects of giving talks, seminars and workshops on Asperger’s Syndrome is that it has taken me to places throughout the UK that I perhaps wouldn’t normally visit as well as along some very picturesque railway routes. Travelling to Lancashire via Carlisle took me through the peaks of the Lake District and past the sands of Morecambe Bay. As the late John Betjeman, former Poet Laureate, said, views from railway journeys give a different and often unique perspective of landscapes.

Carr House, Much Hoole, Lancashire
While in the north-west I also found time to visit Carr House in Much Hoole, Lancashire, where Jeremiah Horrocks is said to have observed the Transit of Venus in 1639. As you may remember from my last entry, along with many others I missed out on seeing this year’s transit (the last until the year 2117) due to heavy clouds, but weather couldn’t stop me from gaining a view of Carr House! Like the view from a railway carriage gives a different perspective on landscape, observations of astronomical events not only often give us a different perspective of the universe but have, historically, often changed our perception of it. As the first to observe the transit with a telescope, projecting the Sun’s image onto the wall, Horrocks made measurements the derived a value for the solar parallax that showed that the Sun was further away from Earth than previously thought, thus a step in opening us up to a larger Solar System and Universe full of possibilities which would gradually unfold.

Having already used two of what I call my ‘Guilty Asperger Pleasures’, railways and astronomy, to illustrate the value different perspectives, I must now get back on track and apply this value to software testing. One of Autism Works strengths as an independent software testing service is that we see software products from outside the constraints under which the developers work, thus being able to see and identify bugs that most likely bypass them, which I am finding in some testing that has just come in. For more about this, as well as different and unique perspectives, stay tuned to Adventures with Autism Works.

On the subject of different perspectives, mountain treks have enabled me to gain a different perspective of who I am in relation to my Asperger diagnosis. To find out about or make a donation towards my next challenge to raise much-needed funds for The Daisy Chain Project, please see the following link

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